National supply chain shortage continues to impact Triangle businesses, experts say shop early for holiday season

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RALEIGH N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh businesses are working hard to keep shelves stocked, all the while dealing with national supply chain backlogs and shortages during the pandemic.

Tommy Hastings with Burke Brothers Hardware said he’s gotten used to managing product or material shortages over the past year and a half.

“It’s not buying something for next week, it’s buying something for the next three months,” Hastings said. “If we can’t get this one item by this brand, can we get that same thing from another person, another distributor, so on and so forth. Just trying to find good substitutes.”

Current backlogs at U.S. ports, a national need for more truck drivers, and even a shortage of natural materials are all contributing to delays for everyday items.

Professor Rob Handfield with the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at North Carolina State University said the chain effect in trying to get everyday products to shelves during the pandemic has only gotten worse this year.

“There’s a lot of steps in that process and every one of those steps is a potential bottleneck because of COVID or labor shortages,” Handfield said.

He said there are shortages across the board, from parts for cars or farming equipment, to computer chips and even food products.

Most recently, Hastings said he’s seen this first hand with grills made right in North Carolina.

“They canceled all of my orders for it and said when we get some steel we will let you know, but until then, we have no clue when we get something,” Hastings said.

When it comes to holiday shopping, Handfield recommends people start now and get ahead of expected delays.

“We’re likely going to see a lot of things that just are not going to make it to the shelves in time for Christmas this year,” Handfield said.

He said he expects supply chain issues through next year.

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